Romanian provider of IT training and integration services Bittnett acquired 25 percent stake in game-based learning company Equatorial Gaming.
Through this operation, Bittnet will hold a 24,9989 percent stake in the company controlled by Romanian entrepreneur Dan Berteanu and co-founded with Diana Rosetka. This development comes less than a month after Bittnet signed a similar agreement for taking a controlling stake in another IT company, ELIAN Solutions.
“Bittnet has started as a company specialized in delivering IT trainings and through the years, has managed to become a leader in this domain in Romania. Investment in Equatorial Gaming, a game-based learning company, is part of the Group’s 2018-2020 growth strategy, in the ‘education’ area. As technology evolves, so does the manner in which adults learn. We are excited about enlarging our education portfolio with proprietary products, which are innovative and oriented towards future and that will surely bring a positive difference to our clients” said Mihai Logofatu, CEO at Bittnet.
Equatorial’s history dates back to 1997, when the company was delivering transformational training and consulting programs at an individual, team and organizational level in Romania and abroad. In 2015, the company has invented and launched Equatorial Marathon, an Alternate Reality Game for corporations, which increases the level of engagement and stimulates behavioural changes in employees. The product is available 24/7, on multiple devices and has been used for learning projects, conferences and academic masters in Romania, Poland, Italy and France.
“We are proud to have developed products with 100 percent Romanian methodology that are being successfully exported to mature markets in Western Europe. Today’s transaction comes after several years of collaboration between Bittnet and Equatorial Gaming. In recent years, we have identified a number of collaborative opportunities based on our shared portfolio of educational services and, above all, our similar vision dedicated to developing at the European level. We are excited to begin this strategic collaboration at a new level and to bring added value products to our joint clients”, said Dan Berteanu, CEO at Equatorial Gaming.
The investment has two components. In the first phase, which is estimated to close by 15 September 2018, Bittnet will acquire 24,9989 percent of Equatorial Gaming shares in exchange for RON 1,050,000. In the second stage, Bittnet will grant Equatorial Gaming a convertible loan (with a conversion option at discretion of Bittnet’s management) in the amount of RON 1,050,000, for the period of 3 years, with an interest rate of 9 percent per year. In case of exercising the convertibility option, Bittnet’s stake in Equatorial Gaming will reach 45 percent.
“Estimated EUR 100 billion are spent every year in Europe on training programs. In the past few years we have benefitted from the position of the leader on the Romanian IT training market, but we also have recognized that in order to stay ahead and keep building our position, we need to constantly bring new solutions to our clients. Our investment in Equatorial Gaming aims to serve these exact purposes“, said Bittnet CFO Cristian Logofatu.
This is the third acquisition for Bittnet Group in the course of last 12 months. In the third quarter of 2017, Bittnet has acquired GECAD NET, an IT services integrator, which is now present on the Romanian market under dendrio brand. The capital for acquiring 25 percent stake in Equatorial Gaming has been raised by Bittnet during private placement of corporate bonds (BNET23), which was successfully closed at the beginning of July 2018 when the company has raised RON 4.7 million in financing.
Bittnet will devote the coming months for finalizing the process as well as overlooking the integration of both ELIAN Solutions and Equatorial Gaming into the Group’s structure. At the same time, Equatorial Gaming will dedicate this period to promoting the new version of its game, called VRunners, which was launched in June this year at the “International Conference of e-Learning in the Workplace”, held in the USA at the prestigious Columbia University.